We slice and dice Consumer Reports Top Picks for 2017 to come up with two affordable vehicles for credit-challenged buyers.

New Cars

Buying an affordable new vehicle that promises to be reliable for many years is especially important if you're a borrower with bad credit. Many of these buyers find themselves working with a tight budget, so reliability is important. The less you spend on vehicle repairs, the more of a cushion you'll have for other unexpected expenses.

In terms of affordability, this typically means you'll want to pick a subcompact or compact car – especially if you're buying new. These vehicles are more affordable to finance, so you'll save money on interest expenses. They're also typically more affordable to insure, and, because they are more economical, they'll save you money at the gas pump.

But there's a difference between the price of a vehicle and its cost. The price is what you pay for it. Its cost, in addition to the price, also includes insurance and fuel expenses, as well as its maintenance costs. Those maintenance expenses are directly related to how reliable a vehicle it is.

Consumer Reports Top Picks for 2017

Consumer Reports (CR) recently published a list of seven new vehicles that made their 2017 Annual Top Picks List. We then went over the results and picked the two most affordable cars from the list – a subcompact and compact. Here is what CR had to say about both:Consumer Reports Top Picks Toyota Yaris iA

Subcompact Car Top Pick: Toyota Yaris iA

  • Base MSRP: $16,835
  • EPA-estimated fuel economy: 31/40/34 city/highway/combined mpg (manual transmission)
  • CR observed fuel economy: 35 mpg overall

"Developed by Mazda, launched by Scion, and now marketed as a Toyota, the Yaris iA proves that subcompact cars can delight. A different model from the Toyota Yaris hatchback, the frisky iA sedan stands out in a segment filled with insubstantial models. It feels refined for this entry-level class, with a smooth and willing four-cylinder engine, slick six-speed automatic transmission, and relatively compliant ride. Mazda’s sporty DNA shines through the well-tuned steering and eager handling to bring playfulness to this affordable party. A full-featured infotainment system and standard low-speed automatic emergency braking add further appeal, making the Yaris iA a desirable no-excuses budget sedan."

Consumer Reports Top Picks Chevrolet Cruze

Compact Car Top Pick: Chevrolet Cruze

  • Base MSRP: $17,850
  • EPA-estimated fuel economy: 28/39/32 city/highway/combined mpg (manual transmission)
  • CR observed fuel economy: 30 mpg overall

"This redesigned sedan and hatchback bests two segment stalwarts, the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla, with an Overall Score at the top of the class. The formula is simple: Put the Malibu and Impala in a shrink ray, reducing scale but preserving the commendable driving manners and generous available features. The result is a hushed, smooth-riding sedan that’s roomy enough to be a budget-friendly alternative to a midsized car. The polished 153-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine is lively yet frugal. The Cruze we tested returned a good 30 mpg overall, but look deeper into the data and you find that it achieved 47 mpg on the highway. Given that impressive figure, it might not be worth waiting for the diesel engine."

The Bottom Line

If you have bad credit and you're given the choice of a new car, it only make sense that you'd be better off choosing the model that's one of Consumer Reports Top Picks.

Here's something else to consider if your credit is less than perfect: Auto Credit Express has a nationwide network of car dealerships that are trained in special finance. This means they have the lenders and know-how to help people in all types of credit situations.

So if you're ready to take that first step, you'll find that our service is free, fast and puts you under no obligation to buy anything. See what we can do for you by filling out our car loan request today.